This is not a full coverage of the history of the Drysdale Football Club, as many records are not available, having been lost or not possible to read due to age or damage.
The contents of this book have been obtained from the Geelong Advertisers in the Geelong Historical Records Department, Little Malop Street, Geelong.
Minutes that were retained by the late W. Nicholas who is mentioned throughout the history of the club.
Stories told by old residents, who have since passed on, must be taken as being correct, as there is no way of proving otherwise.
Many hours have gone into this book and its contents, which it is hoped will give enjoyment to whoever takes the time to read it from cover to cover. It will not satisfy everybody. There will be those who will dispute some of the contents and there are most likely many past players who could possibly add many more stories to this book, but time does not permit.
This book can never really be completed, as the Drysdale Football Club will keep going as long are there are lads who believe in and partake of the Australian game know as football.
The Drysdale Football Club invited the Chilwell 2nd Twenty to open the season of Football for 1879, at Drysdale on Saturday 13th June, 1879.
This report was taken from the Monday’s paper16th June, 1879 as written:
“Chilwell 2nd Twenty V Drysdale – The Drysdale having invited the Chilwell to open their season, a team representing the 2nd Twenty, proceeded out to Drysdale in the “Spirit of the Age”. Shaw captained the Chilwell and Cuddy, the Drysdale. The later having won the toss, elected to kick from west to east, thus gaining the advantage of the stormy wind. During the first hour, Chilwell obtained 2 goals and the Drysdale, the same number. In the second hour, Chilwell obtained 4 goals, thus winning the game by 6 goals to two. Those who distinguished themselves were:- Hurly, Beales, Okes and Roberts for the victors; and Dale, Cuddy and Dobel for the losers. Mr. John Shaw officiated as central umpire and gave general satisfaction.
As there is no other reports prior to that which is reported above, we must assume that Drysdale first formed a club in the year of 1879.
During the year 1879, Drysdale played three other sides, all played at the Drysdale ground. They were East Geelong as reported on Monday 30th June, 1879, such as the following:-
“The East Geelong club visited Drysdale on Saturday to play the club of that township and returned home at night, victorious. The result of the game being, East Geelong 4 goals 13 behinds to Drysdale 5 behinds. Hede captained the former and Cuddy lead the county team.
The next report found was a game which was noted from the “Local Correspondent News”, stating:-
“Teams from the Artillery and the club met at football on Saturday 7th July, 1879. After a hard contest, the game resulted in a draw, with one goal a piece. Conclusion will be tried for again next Saturday.” Unfortunately no report was available.
Friday 18th July, 1879.
“Drysdale V Wanderers on Saturday”.
Without a result being published in later papers.
Pursuing through results and notifications of games to be played for the rest of the year, it was seen that the only mention of Portarlington, at any time up to the year 1879, was on Friday 22nd August, 1879, the announcement that a game would be played on the following day between Waverley and Portarlington. There was no mention in later publications, who won the game. Many games have been played between Drysdale and their rivals, Portarlington, but the date of the first meeting is not known.
In 1885, Birregurra travelled to Drysdale on Saturday 30th May, to play a match.
Curlewis fielded a side which mentioned such players as Fords, Ryans, Stapletons, Eastwoods and Larkins, and that club played Drysdale on the 21st June, 1890, at Curlewis.
Drysdale played football behind the local Hotel, which was known as the Bucks Head for many years, there was also a race course there, and it was possible that the ground was inside the race course.
There were three time keepers that Drysdale owe much to. Mr. A. Dean, who was Shire Secretary and Shire Engineer of the Bellarine Shire Council, a very responsible position in the community. The second, Mr. G. Drake, who was a local farmer and served the longest in consecutive year on time keeping and only game up this position, when he left the district. Last but not least, Mr. A. Mannix, was the youngest, being only fifteen years of age when he was appointed. These three persons sat outside, rain, hail or shine, with no protection except for the pavilion, which their backs were against, for protection from the north. So they sat through cold and wintery weather, never once failing to carry out their duty.
Time Keepers in the seventies, sit inside with glass protection from the winter weather and a radiator for warmth.
Competitions Drysdale have been affiliated with, have been many and except for 1879, which was classed as a season by invitation. The follow orders along with the position the club finished each year.
The Bellarine Football Competition commenced in 1900 and consisted of Drysdale, Portarlington and Queenscliff, with the Military joining into the competition a few years later. In 1903 Drysdale were Premiers and won a magnificent marble mantle clock, suitably inscribed with the year and the three teams that participated. The clock can now be seen in the Drysdale Football Clubrooms. No other success was forthcoming in this competition which was to last until the end of 1925.
1926 saw Drysdale affiliated with the Geelong Athletic Societies League and were Premiers the same year, when they defeated Barrabool. The scores were 6.10.46 to 5.8.38. The side was captained by Austin Drake and Vice-Captain was Lionel O’Neill.
1927 Runners Up. Being defeated by St. Marys 7.10.52 to 3.9.27. Dick Davis played full forward and scored 52 goals from eleven games.
1928 Premiers. Finished the season undefeated after 14 home and away games. Drew with St. Marys in the Semi-final. Lost the re-play 12.14 to 10.14 but won the Grand Final, defeating St. Marys.
1929 Lost the second semi-final to Lara and so finished in third position.
1930 Lost the second semi-final to Lara and so finished in third position.
1931 Fourth after losing the first semi-final by 4 points to Portarlington 8.8.56 to 7.10.52. Some interesting encounters with Portarlington during the season were, they drew the first fame for the season Portarlington 4.14 to Drysdale 5.8. The last game for the season, Portarlington defeated Drysdale by 2 points. Drysdale lodged a protest and Portarlington also, but the League dismissed both as they had no bearing on the final four. Neither side could advance to the second semi-final and so, brought an exciting close to Drysdale’s association with that League.
The Drysdale Football Club then affiliated with the Geelong Sub District League.
1932 Runners Up. Defeating Railways in the second semi-final 8.7.62 to 7.8.50, only to lose the Grand Final 8.7.55 to 3.5.23, played at Corio Oval. Bill Nicholas won the Best and Fairest Medal in the losing side, donated by W. Lincoln.
1933 Finished 2nd last, winning 4 home games out of sixteen.
1934 Fifth at the end of the season. One game lost was against North Shore 25.25.175 to Drysdale 0.8.8.
1935 Premiers. Defeating North Geelong in the Grand Final. Scores 7.15.57 to 4.16.40. The other finalist was North Shore, with whom Drysdale had to play in the final, having gone through the season undefeated, until the second semi-final when North Geelong were victors. Cyril Wisbey played a captains game holding w. Vautier completely. The Second Best & Fairest dealing a football lesson the Best & Fairest in the League. Bill Nicholas won the cup for the Best & Fairest of the Match. Drysdale also won the Discipline Cup with a perfect score of 54 points.
1936 Fourth. Lost the semi-final to North Shore. Scores 10.4.64 to 9.15.69. This was a good effort, as North Shore finished Premiers and Champions.
1937 Third. Defeating Garrison in semi-final, only to lose the preliminary final to Anakie 11.15.81 to 10.6.66
1938 2nd last. Discipline Cup score was 51 out of a possible 56.
1939 Last-Wooden Spoon. Winning only 2 games out of 10. This was the last season of football played until 1946, having gone into recess during World War 2. Many players served during the war and saw service overseas.
Names that will be remembered by many were Bill Nicholas, P.O.W Germany; Georgie Coatsworth P.O.W. Germany; Lester Hitch, killed in action; Dudley Peel, presumed lost a sea in Japanese P.O.W. ship, torpedoed by American submarine, 1942. There were others who also served and played with the club, on the signing of the Armistice, Frank Edsall P.O.W. Japan, who was a President with the club in the fifties and is a Life Member and is still a very active member.
1947 Third. Lost Preliminary Final to East Geelong at West Oval. Portarlington won the Grand Final. Records of the next few years are not available, having been misplaced. From enquiries made, it is known that Drysdale was affiliated with the Geelong and District Football Association, which was later changed to League. Drysdale who played in white and red changed to brown with gold collar, cuffs and vee.
Many comments were made that Drysdale will not win a flag with the new colours and staunch supporters have most likely uttered these words, whenever club colours have been changed. Drysdale were forced to make the change, as new jumpers were urgently required and white and red jumpers were unavailable.
1948-49-50 Were just average seasons, either, just making the four only to be put out in the Semi-finals.
1951 Saw the same result as the three previous years except for the postponement of the first semi-final, which was due to Barwon Heads having a home and home game put off due to their town being threatened by the Barwon River flooding. After meeting with the Secretary of the League and giving sound reasoning o have the game played, and having to win by fifteen goals which would put Drysdale into the second semi, the request was granted and the team failed to gain the percentage required by .02% or 1 point short of the fifteen goals.
1952 – 53 Saw an all-out effort to win a Premiership and with the addition of seven players from West Geelong, plus Don Bauer, half back flank from the Geelong Football Club. It looked as if the move was to be successful. Bauer had the side playing well but defeated in the preliminary final. At the end of the season, at a meeting in the Court House, a motion was put forward “That the club disband”. The reason given was that the proposer of the motion would not be available for office, the following year, nor would the seconder, and they felt that the younger members of the Committee were not capable of managing the affairs of Drysdale Football Club. The motion was defeated.
1954 Wooden Spoon. The start of a new outlook to football. No more imports for season. All locals and any player who is already classed as a Drysdale player. Imports of 1953 left the club and so it was locals only. Defeated in every game but no club could double our losing score and the young Committee believed they had made the right decision. The Committee and players had more co-operation and understanding between each other, so much so, that the End of Season Trip was to Warrnambool and 33 people took the offer and spent the weekend divided between two hotels, which were opposite.
1955 Premiers. The move of the previous year, the election of the same Office Bearers, who had pledged to play locals and the just reward at the end of the season was a flag. Brown and gold, they were a proud Committee. At the start of the season, three players were added to the side. L. Taylor, who graduated from East Geelong U-18 side, John Ryan, who had played with Geelong West and Bob Kelly, a player who had won the Best & Fairest, in the Woolworth Cup Section, 1954, with St. Albans. These players were locals, as they had moved into the town to live. When the Committee heard that Bob Kelly was in the area and knowing his ability to play football, they sought a clearance from St. Albans and after some difficulty finally obtained his services. Next move was for Ian Bjork, President and Coach for the season, to step down from the Coaching position, and so Bob Kelly became the Coach and led the Club into the Grand Final, defeating Torquay at West Oval.
1956 Finished Fourth after a chain of If’s. To make the Four it was up to Anakie to defeat our neighbours, Portarlington and the Dale to knock off St. Marys. Well that’s what did take place, only to see the Dale defeated by St. Marys in the First Semi-Final.
1957 – 1961 Was five years of mixed fortunes, making the four but not getting past the First Final game.
1962 Premiers. Defeating Lara at Kardinia Park in the Jarman Cup Section and with the Promotion and Relegation System in operation, Drysdale goes into the Woolworth Cup. For Season 1963, Lara was also elevated.
1964 Drysdale and Lara play off for the wooden spoon. Injuries took their toll of Drysdale players, who had never played in such high class football.
1965 Runners Up. Lara given the use of the wind in the first quarter, when Drysdale won the toss and kicked against it, went on to win when the wind dropped and then blew from the opposite direction. As one spectator said “What the Lord giveth, taketh”, even though Drysdale were only defeated by a couple of goals.
1966 Premiers. Defeating Ocean Grove by a margin of 39 points. Final scores were Drysdale 6.16.52 to Ocean Grove 1.7.13. After this game Ocean Grove joined Polworth League. Drysdale realised that they would have to form another junior side to retain players, who were too old for U-15 and were looking for U-18 football and so the U-18 side was started.
1967 Runners Up to Anakie.
1968 Runners Up to St. Albans and the U-18 side almost winning their premiership, being defeated by Lara in a game played in howling wind. Drysdale losing by 2 points.
1969 Premiers this time defeating St. Albans at West Geelong. With the town growing, Drysdale was able to form a Reserves side for the following year.
1970 Premiers defeating St. Albans at Osbourne Park and almost pulling the double, as the Reserves were Runner Up to Angelsea.
1971 The formation of the present League, Bellarine & District Football League. The V.C.F.L. disbanded the Polworth League, directing Portarlington, Leopold, Ocean Grove, Torquay, Winchelsea and Queenscliff all from that League to the B. & D.F.L., to which Drysdale and Barwon Heads were granted permission to join, and so the B. & D.F.L. was born. The first home saw Winchelsea Premiers, 1970 play Drysdale Premiers, 1970 at Drysdale. This was used as a yard stick to measure our power in the new League. Drysdale upheld their good name by defeating Winchelsea soundly. The rules of the League stated that each side must field four teams and play on the same ground, which made it more of a family day. Even though our first match was encouraging, it was found that the League was stronger than first thought and Drysdale finished out of the four. Torquay being Premiers in the first year of the League.
1972 Finished down the ladder but had the Under 17 lose the Preliminary Final.
1973 Seniors and Reserves both lost the first Semi Final. Under 17 lost Preliminary Final. Angelsea were admitted to the League, which gave a bye to each Club.
1974 Seniors sixth. Reserves lost preliminary final. Under 17 lost Grand Final.
1975 Seniors Runners Up to Queenscliff. Reserves Premiers defeating Queenscliff. Under 17 Runners Up.
Newcomb formed a club and was admitted to the League.
1976 Seniors Premiers defeating Torquay. Reserves Runners Up to Queenscliff.
1977 Seniors Premiers defeating Queenscliff, who were selected to win and played at Portarlington. Reserves finished 6th.
1978 Runners Up to our old rivals Portarlington at Barwon Heads. Cars were being parked around the ground at 5 o’clock Friday night. Fires were being lit, barbeques were going all night, few slept in the cars, but most talked and joked all night, waiting for daylight. Some had Champagne and Chicken breakfasts, others sausages and eggs.
Portarlington and Drysdale supporters together, gone are the days of being ready for a fight every time they met. Eventually the Under 15’s game got underway, then came the Under 17’s, both these Grand Finals were between Newcomb and Torquay. The Reserves game came and went and the spectators were still pilling in, some looking for a position around the ground to park the car. Portarlington were favourites and proved the good judges right, and at the end of the 24 hours, for some it was well worth the trouble of spending the night at the ground. The game was hard but fair, the odd scuffle, but nothing dirty. Drysdale in typical sporting fashion, congratulated Portarlington on their win.
1979 Was a bad year with injuries that forced Drysdale almost to the bottom of the ladder. All teams suffered the same fate.
1980 It is not over yet but it will take a miracle to get off the bottom of the ladder for all sides excepting the Under 17’s who are only one game out of the four. You can rest assured that the Dale will be up on top again in the near future. This year has been very close to a replay of 1954, when only locals were being played. The imports have gone one by one, none by clearances being granted by the Club but on Appeals granted by the Appeals Board. Allow these young fellows the time to settle down and become a team, who have confidence in each other and them we will be on the way back.
To all who have read this book I trust that it gives you enjoyment and satisfaction, that the Club you were once a part of, has carried on the tradition that was started by yourselves.
The Club Song (To the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy).
We’re a mighty team at Drysdale,
We’re the mighty fighting Hawks.
We love our Club and we play to win,
Riding the bumps with a grin, at Drysdale.
Come what may you’ll see us striving,
Team work is the thing that counts.
All for one and all for one,
Is the way we play at Drysdale,
We are the mighty fighting Hawks.
The Under 11’s who have been nicknamed the Chicken Hawks and play their game at half time of the Seniors, sing the Club song with gusto after that finish their game. Drysdale have forty boys to select the side from.
As mentioned before, every Saturday is a family day, not only do the males of the family enjoy their day but so do the females, as they have netball to play and that too covers the midgets to the seniors.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
- The post and rail fence that surrounded the ground.
- The enclosure that was in front of the old pavilion.
- The old tin shed behind the goal posts.
- McKiernan’s Grand Stand and McKiernan’s O-T used in the Club until 1976.
- The old ground with its fourteen foot fall from east to west.
- The cast iron bell that hung on the south east corner. Disappearing during 1980 season. Who’s got it?
- Playing on another ground at Drysdale.
- Coaches Don Bauer (Geelong F.C.), Eric Lynch, Russ Smith, Dick Davis, Frank Drinkwater (Essendon F.C.), George Phillips, Brain Bennett, Ray Bennett, Cec Bennett, Les Taylor, Bob Kelly, Kevin Edsall, Tony Graham, Peter Brown, Ron Tenabel, David Brown (Geelong F.C.)
- Memberships: 3/- Euchre and Dances: 2/2 Gents 1/7 ½ Ladies.
- L.R. Jennings and E.A. Rodgers Transportation Truck (Tarp if raining).
OFFICE BEARERS FROM 1925 ONWARDS:
YEAR PRESIDENT SECRETARY TREASURER CAPTAIN
1925 W. Lawson W. Nicholas L. O’Neill –
1926 W. Lawson W. Nicholas L. O’Neill L. O’Neill
& G. Lunn
1927 W. Moffatt W. Nicholas E. Stanley –
1928 W. Moffatt W. Nicholas E. Stanley J. Cummins
1929 W. Moffatt W. Nicholas E. Stanley –
1930 A. Dean W. Nicholas E. Stanley L. Wisbey
1931 A. Dean W. Nicholas H. Bartlett –
1932 C. Anderson W. Nicholas L. Kilner J. Cummins
1933 C. Anderson F. Anderson L. Kilner –
1934 C. Anderson F. Anderson Rev. Cragg –
1935 C. Anderson F. Anderson L. O’Neill C. Wisbey
( 1936 to 1945 RECORDS MISSING )
( 1940 to 1945 WAR YEARS, IN RECESS )
1946 – – –
1947 – – – R. Smith
1948 – – –
1949 N. Lennox J. McKenzie C. Bennett E. Lynch
1950 F. Edsall J. McKenzie L. Nash –
1951 F. Edsall J. McKenzie L. Nash –
1952 G. Wisbey L. Nash J. McKenzie –
1953 E. Davis G. Wisbey W. Merrigan D. Bauer
1954 I. Bjork G. Wisbey C. Butcher –
1955 I. Bjork L. Taylor G. Wisbey R. Kelly
1956 I. Bjork L. Taylor G. Wisbey –
1957 I. Bjork L. Taylor A. Mannix –
1958 E. Davis L. Taylor A. Mannix –
1959 I. Bjork L. Taylor A. Mannix –
1960 I. Bjork R. Mannix A. Mannix –
1961 I. Bjork R. Mannix – –
1962 I. Bjork A. Mannix A. Mannix –
1963 L. Ross R. Mannix A. Mannix –
1964 L. Ross R. Finlay A. Mannix –
1965 R. Mannix R. Finlay G. Nash –
1966 R. Mannix R. Finlay G. Nash –
1967 R. Mannix R. Finlay G. Nash –
1968 R. Mannix D. Humphrey A. Mannix –
1969 R. Mannix D. Humphrey A. Mannix –
1970 R. Mannix D. Humphrey A. Mannix –
1971 R. Mannix D. Humphrey A. Mannix –
1972 R. Mannix D. Humphrey A. Mannix –
1973 R. Mannix C. Capon A. Mannix –
1974 D. Bryant C. Capon A. Mannix –
1975 H. Matthews C. Capon A. Mannix –
1976 H. Matthews C. Capon H. Carmody –
1977 B. Bennett H. Matthews H. Carmody R. Tenabel
1978 B. Bennett K. Agg H. Carmody R. Tenabel
1979 B. Bennett T. Merivale L. Harding R. Tenabel
1980 B. Bennett T. Merivale R. Deeath M. McLaren
LIFE MEMBERSHIPS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO THE FOLLOWING:
A.L. Dean, W.H. Nicholas, P.R. Peel, I. Bjork, C. Bennett, R. Mannix, L. Taylor, R.G. Wisbey, G. Nash, A. Taylor, R. Finlay, B. Bennett, R. Kelly, A. Mannix, J. McKenzie, W. Whitehouse, D. Humphrey, T. Bartlett, R. Bennett, R. Rogulskyj, E.J. Boyle, F.M. Edsall.
Six of these Life Members are now deceased. The three Bennetts are a father and two sons. The Mannix’s and the Taylor’s are brothers.
O’Neill J. Edsall Mrs Pam Davis
D. Connor M. Nash Leslie Taylor
D. McKeon M. Wilson Jocelyn Mannix
The Premiership Years
140 Year Celebration
In 1879 Ned Kelly raided the town of Jerilderie, and he dictated the now famous Jerilderie letter.
In that year the Sydney Telegraph newspaper was published for the first time, Darriwell won the Melbourne Cup, and the Geelong Football Club won the VFA Premiership in only the third year of the fledgling competition.
It was also the year in which the Drysdale Football Club played its first game.
This seems quite remarkable, given that our town’s namesake only moved into the Coriyule mansion some 30 years beforehand, and the town had only been named some 20 years earlier…. yet it now had a football club!
It was reported in the Geelong Advertiser that the team played the Chillwell 2nds on Saturday June 14th, 1879.
The side, captained by Cuddy, was unfortunately defeated six goals to two.
Other games followed that year against East Geelong, Artillery, and Wanderers, with a draw against Artillery the best result.
Early games were played at a ground behind the hotel known as The Buck’s Head.
This was also the location of the racetrack and the ground was most likely in the centre of this.
In 1900 The Bellarine Football Competition was formed with games, previous to that being by invitation only. Drysdale, Portarlington, & Queenscliff were the inaugural teams with Military joining some years later.
The clubs first premiership came in 1903 with an impressive marble clock being awarded to the victors. The clock can still be seen in the clubrooms today.
Move forward to 2019 and the club has 500 active participants, from 5 year olds in Auskick, to Men’s and Women’s senior teams.
It has won 18 senior premierships and holds a place as one of the most respected sports clubs in the region.
To celebrate the 140-year milestone, the club is holding a spectacular commemorative dinner at the Geelong Football club on Saturday June 22nd. With a two course dinner, entertainment from musicians and comedians, as well as visual displays and interviews with past players it is a night not to be missed.
The Celebration Night
On Saturday June 14th 1879, a group of men got together for a game of football.
Led by the captain, Mr. Cuddy, the Drysdale Football Club was formed, going down to the Chilwell 2’s 6 goals to 2.
Further games that year saw further losses to East Geelong, Wanderers, and a thrilling draw against Artillery.
Since that time, the Drysdale Football Club, now named, on Saturday June 14th 1879, a group of men got together for a game of football.
Led by the captain, Mr. Cuddy, the Drysdale Football Club was formed, going down to the Chilwell 2’s 6 goals to 2.
Further games that year saw further losses to East Geelong, Wanderers, and a thrilling draw against Artillery.
Since that time, the Drysdale Football Club has grown in leaps and bounds, and the club got together last weekend at GMHBA Stadium, the home of the Geelong Cats, to celebrate 140 Years of our great club.
The exact weekend saw the club wear commemorative jumpers in various home games, wearing the club strip from 1935, and the Gala event held a week later, to ensure everyone got the chance to celebrate the amazing milestone.
Planning commenced over 12 months ago, and the small team of volunteers wanted to make sure they were able to put together a night to honour and rejoice in our club’s proud history.
With plenty of memorabilia, photographs and some of our clubs past jumpers and apparel on display in the foyer, guests all made a Red Carpet entrance, before entering the room full of tables to seat the 350 plus event.
Throughout the night, the guests were entertained by comedians the Nelson Twins, and Angie Hiltons 80’s Ladies musical act, which got the dance floor pumping well into the night.
Hosted by former player and club president John Edsel, there was a number of videos produced for the night, featuring more photos and videos from years past, as well as some amazing interviews with club royalty like Jack Chatfield, Alan Taylor & Geoff Wisbey,
Current identities Greg Scott, Alan Bliss & Marty Trewhella, and names for the future – Luke Preece, Tess Craven & Brooke Lowe where also present.
John also conducted live interviews with 2 of the clubs VFL/AFL representatives, Tom Ruggles and Rex Deeath.
A really big thanks to the team who organized and coordinated the night and to the 350 guests who attended, the night is certainly one for the history books… Here’s to the next milestone!!the club has grown in leaps and bounds, and got together last weekend at GMHBA Stadium, the home of the Geelong Cats, to celebrate 140 Years.
For more information visit the Drysdale Football Club website